A compelling story and strong acting lead the Christian film to success at the box office.
After 70 days in release, Run the Race wrapped up its theatrical run earlier this month, having brought in $6.4 million and, in so doing, claiming 39th place all time in the Christian genre, according to Box Office Mojo. The only budget estimate we were able to rustle up is $1.5 million, which, if it accurate, would make this faith-based film a clear commercial success, particularly with digital/Blu-ray sales, streaming service and television deals - domestic and international - all still to come.
This movie had a lot going for it, including the free media attention that comes with having a big name like Tim Tebow, the star Christian athlete, attached as executive producer. Not only did he raise the nationwide profile of Run the Race, he also reportedly placed a single phone call to get the green light for shooting of the film's final scene at University of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during a big football game...the least they could do for the man who won them two national championships and a Heisman Trophy. Plus Tebow is a huge presence in the Christian community, so his impact on getting that core constituency out to theaters cannot be overstated.
More directly related to the picture itself, though, the script is always the starting point for success and Christian screenwriter and actor Jake McEntire turned in a good one - a bit heavy, but good and redemptive. And as we detailed here, it took an unbelievable 15-year journey, so three cheers to him for keeping the faith and having the staying power to see it through. Once production started, the crew did their jobs and director Chris Dowling got the most out of a strong cast full of Hollywood vets like Kristoffer Polaha, Frances Fisher, Mykelti Williamson and Mario Van Peebles.
It was the youngsters, however, who carried this film, with Tanner Stine, Evan Hofer and Kelsey Reinhardt all delivering the goods in leading roles. The story focuses on Stine and Hofer as brothers leaning on each other, their athletic ability and Christian faith to overcome a series of hardships. Reinhardt plays the love interest to Stine's character, with her steady faith influencing him for good through his lows.
From our perspective, this movie should serve as something of a template for Christian filmmakers going forward, because it has all the necessary building blocks for commercial success: keep the budget reasonably low, bring in proven actors with name recognition - but who are not budget-busters - and attach people with influence in the Body who can rally the faithful to go to movie theaters. And as stated above, a good script is an absolute must before launching the mission. The rest is in the hands of the Almighty, which is of course right where we want it.
Run the Race will soon be available for purchase, first digitally and then on Blu-ray. That happens starting May 21st and you can find out more via this link to the film's website. Christian Film Blog thinks it's worth adding this one to your movie library, so check it out.